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Proposed Changes for Rating Disabilities for Respiratory, Auditory and Mental Health Conditions

The Department of Veterans Affairs has proposed changes to the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities specifically respiratory, auditory and mental health disorders.

These proposed rating updates will allow the VA to incorporate modern medical data and terminology to provide Veterans with more accurate and consistent decisions.

Veterans who currently receive compensation for a service-connected conditions for Respiratory, Auditory or Mental Health Disorder body systems will NOT have their disability rating impacted when the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities is updated. Updating the rating schedule allows Veterans to receive decisions based on the most current medical knowledge relating to their condition.

Incorporating modern medical data, in the assessment of disabilities and how service-connected conditions impact earning capacity, Veterans will receive evaluations which more accurately compensate them for their service-connected disabilities. The proposed updates to include:

  • Modernizing the evaluative rating criteria for sleep apnea, using updated medical developments and medical knowledge to evaluate sleep apnea based on a Veteran's response to treatment, bringing the rating criteria for sleep apnea more closely in line with the stated purpose of the rating schedule.

  • Evaluating tinnitus (ringing in the ears) as a symptom of the underlying disease/medical condition which causes it, rather than as a stand-alone disability.

  • Evaluating mental health conditions based on a more holistic, in-depth approach that assesses how the mental health condition impacts the disability in regard to cognition, interpersonal relationships, task completion, life activities and self-care. Further, the proposed evaluation criteria will include a 10% minimum evaluation for having one or more service-connected mental health conditions and will no longer require “total occupational and social impairment” to attain a 100% evaluation.

There will be no change to a Veteran’s current rating due to these proposed changes. If the proposed changes are finalized, Veterans who currently receive compensation for a service-connected condition can apply for increased compensation. NO reductions in rating will be made UNLESS there is identified improvement of the Veteran’s service-connected disability.

The public has 60 days to provide comments to VA regarding the two proposed updates via the Federal Register notices located here and here.

For more information, visit the link: VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities

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